Defining "Normal"The monitoring program is an integral part of the management of the Alaska Maritime Refuge. The information it provides is used to define "normal" variability in demographic parameters and identify patterns that fall outside norms, thereby signaling conservation issues.Strategy for Data CollectionThe strategy for colony monitoring includes estimating timing of nesting events, reproductive success, population trends, and prey used by representative species of various foraging guilds (e.g., murres are offshore diving fish-feeders, kittiwakes are offshore surface-feeding fish-feeders, auklets are diving plankton-feeders, etc.) at geographically dispersed breeding sites along the entire coastline of Alaska.Monitoring SitesA total of 10 sites on Alaska Maritime Refuge located roughly 300 to 500 km apart, are scheduled for annual surveys, and at least some data is available from all of these in most years. In addition, colonies near the annual sites are identified for less frequent surveys to "calibrate" the information gathered at the annual sites. Data provided from other research projects (e.g., those associated with evaluating the impacts of oil spills on marine birds) also supplement the monitoring database.Annual Monitoring Field Stations(from north to south around the coast)Cape LisburneSt. PaulSt. GeorgeBuldirKasatochi - No annual monitoring since the volcanic eruption of 2008. AiktakChowietE. AmatuliSt. Lazaria
Examples of Target Species for Seabird Monitoring
Seabirds as Indicator Species– parameters –population trendsreproductive successtiming of nesting eventschick growth rateadult survivalprey used by species of various foraging guildsgeographically dispersed breeding sitesTime-series Monitoring Data1 - Archived in the Pacific Seabird Monitoring Database2 - Summary present in annual report
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Biologists recently discovered Kittlitz’s murrelets nesting on Adak, and since then have searched the island for more birds. An elusive and little understood seabird, Kittlitz’s murrelets are a species of concern because of their low numbers and restricted range. Their cryptic mottled plumage and secretive behavior around their solitary nest sites makes locating murrelet nests seem a lot like looking for a needle in a haystack. If eyes are not the best tool for finding Kittlitz nests, what about noses? This summer a new member joined the team: Otto, a ten-month-old Deutsch-Drahthaar (akin to a German wirehair pointer). Even in the Aleutians, Otto is not the first dog to work alongside Refuge biologists. Read more about Otto and how we went to the dogs to bring back an endangered species.